While nature land is being replaced by our ever-growing cities, one of the best things we can do is making sure our gardens are pollinator gardens. But researchers in UGA’s Odum School of Ecology found that pollinator gardens are most beneficial to pollinators when they contain a greater variety of plants. The researchers focused on the characteristics of gardens that include the presences of native and exotic plants, the location and size of the garden and the use of chemicals. What they learned surprised us and even them. So, what can you do to make sure your garden helps the pollinators around you flourish?
Incorporating native plants into your landscape is still very important because they are already adapted to the conditions of the region. But with the findings from the University of Georgia we have learned that including exotic plants and woody vegetation in your landscaping they can help attract pollinators and also provide shelter and additional food for the pollinators. A varied selection of plants creates sustainable habitat for the bees and butterflies while supporting other pollinator species like bats and birds who will also provide some mosquito control. Here are a few plants we’d recommend adding to your garden and landscaping this spring!
Let’s keep things native first! Planting the native perennial Little Trudy Catmint adds a pop of lavender to your garden while attracting bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Plus it’s strong fragrance makes it deer and rabbit resistant to save all the good nutrition for the pollinators. The Little Trudy Catmint would be perfect for an edging or groundcover, in mixed borders and herb gardens.
Adding the Crape Myrtle tree would be a great way to help the pollinators in your garden. While the Crape Myrtle tree has no nectar for the pollinators, it does have two sources of pollen and is a great form of shelter. The exotic tree has gorgeous summer flowers, beautiful bark, and change colors in the fall which makes the tree all around great garden performer. Crape Myrtle trees do need full sun with moderate watering so displaying them in the right area of your landscaping is crucial.
One of the best annuals for attracting pollinators into the garden are the semi-tropical Pentas shrubs! The Pentas flowers grow in clusters over the blooming season in vibrant shades such as purple, pink and red. Pentas have lush foliage and nectar that keep the blooms and butterflies coming all summer long. The plant grows well in containers and the ground so Pentas could make a great houseplant with the right amount of daily light.
University of Georgia: Pollinators gardens do best with a variety of plants